Media Release by Senator the Hon Mark Arbib

South Australia shows homelessness targets achievable

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Jennifer Rankine MP, Minister for Families and Communities, Minister for Housing, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability

Federal Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness Mark Arbib and South Australian Minister for Housing Jennifer Rankine today said the dramatic reduction in rough sleeping in Adelaide was proof that Governments’ homelessness programs in South Australia were working.

A new South Australian report released today shows a 50 per cent reduction in the number of people sleeping rough in Adelaide over the past four years.

Senator Arbib said the results showed what was possible when governments worked together to assist homeless and disadvantaged Australians.

“As a result of increased investment from Federal and State Governments, South Australia has a range of innovative programs to tackle homelessness, including the Street to Home outreach service and Common Ground housing,” Senator Arbib said.

“Partnerships are absolutely critical and I commend the work that has taken place in South Australia, including the great efforts of the many community organisations that are dedicated to turning people’s lives around.

“The Australian Government has committed to halving the rate of homelessness and providing supported accommodation to all rough sleepers who seek it by 2020.

“Since 2008, the Commonwealth Government has dramatically increased its investment in addressing homelessness by almost $5 billion in additional funding including funding for 28 new or expanded services in South Australia.

“Addressing homelessness requires more than putting a roof over someone’s head – it is about providing outreach services, accommodation support and ensuring that employment and health services continue to help them stabilise their lives.

“The dramatic reduction in rough sleeping in Adelaide shows that we can as a community end homelessness for many people when we work together.”

South Australian Housing Minister Jennifer Rankine said the State Government had been working tirelessly to reduce the level of homelessness since coming to office.

“The report we are releasing today recognises the achievements of the first two years of our Homeless to Home strategy and lays out the framework and our plans to building on this achievement for the next two years.

“By combining resources from different programs, we have been able to focus more than $213m on homelessness support and services in SA over four years and are also providing more than half of the 1,360 new Nation Building Stimulus houses to homeless people or those at high risk.

“Over the past two years, South Australia has delivered wholesale reform and major investment to create a renewed and integrated homelessness service sector and over the next two years we will continue to see the benefits of this hard work.

“Our homelessness services are now more connected, consistent and responsive, with 75 new specialist homelessness services for families and individuals across South Australia, including services for women and their children who are homeless as a result of experiencing domestic violence.

“Housing SA has worked closely with SA Health to pioneer Street to Home – a service that goes out to find rough sleepers and offer them services and support.  Services like this have helped to halve rough sleeper numbers in the CBD from 108 in 2007 to 51 in May 2011.

“The new services also include a state-wide service to assist people to access housing and support 24-hours a day, seven days per week.

“An increase in homelessness services had resulted in almost 20,000 people receiving support between July 2010 and March 2011, a 47 per cent increase compared to the previous year.

“These outcomes have only been possible as a result of considerable commitment, co-operation and persistence on the part of the Commonwealth Government, the South Australian Government, the non-government sector and homeless people in South Australia.

“We are confident of continuing to reduce homelessness and making a real difference to the lives of those in need.”